Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), has refuted claims by policy think tank Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), that she used MASLOC funds to induce NPP delegates during the June 2020 NPP primary in Yendi which she lost.
In a two-page rejoinder copied to GhanaWeb, Hajia Zacharia indicated that CDD-Ghana’s Corruption Watch report was not factual, and questioned why the reporters used the caveat ‘allegedly’.
“I would like to point out that there is no iota of truth in this statement. If the reporters were truly confident in their ‘findings’, why did they find the need to use the caveat ‘allegedly’? You make a categorical statement in your headline that votes were bought and yet in your opening paragraph, you introduce alleged inducement,” parts of her statement read.
She indicated that the term ‘buying’ connotes the presence of offer and acceptance and ‘inducements’ would imply persuasion.
Hajia Abibata Zakaria stressed that there was no vote-buying on her part and it is false for an organization with a huge stature and capacity such as the CDD to state that MASLOC money was used to induce NPP delegates during the primaries.
“There is no evidence to back this claim. Unless they were purposely excluded, some of the beneficiaries of a transparent loan scheme were always going to be members of various political parties including the NPP and some would-be delegates. The generalization that the beneficiaries were all delegates is unfair and unproven. They were not and I told you so but you chose to call them delegates,” her statement read further.
The CDD-Ghana’s Corruption Watch report stated that, On Thursday, May 21, 2020, Hajia Abibata Zakaria distributed GHC1,000 state cash under the guise of MASLOC loans to NPP delegates of Yendi constituency where she was a parliamentary aspirant for the June contest.
This, she noted that, was “an unfair impression of dolling out state money. I wish to emphasise that it was MASLOC that distributed the loans and not me as an individual. I supervised the process in my capacity as a deputy CEO.
CDD indicted Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria told the NPP delegates in a video that, although MASLOC loans were not yet to be distributed, she had ensured that as deputy CEO of MASLOC, loans to her constituents were not only distributed to them but also the number of recipients had been increased above what was permitted.
“Though this gathering is not a political rally for me, there is no way we will do this without letting you know why we brought [it] here,” Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria told the delegates back in June. “Here is my Northern Regional Manager, he’s aware that MASLOC gives to a maximum of five groups in the Northern Region, but I’ve not regretted the fact that Yendi alone has been honoured with 35 groups. If I’ve not done so, you have the right to blame me because I can’t have such an opportunity and not help you my people,”.
Read Hajia Zacharia’s full rejoinder below: